Before you reach for the saw palmetto…
Q: My husband has been taking saw palmetto for years now. Though he still has problems with his prostate, he really does think that taking it has helped him avoid surgery. I was worried when I read that saw palmetto could be harmful to healthy prostate tissue. Is this true?
Dr. Wright: I have never seen research indicating that saw palmetto causes damage to prostate tissue. Just the opposite, in fact: Countless studies over the years have proven it to be one of the most beneficial herbs for treating enlarged prostate (technically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH).
However, as effective as saw palmetto is for helping men with existing cases of BPH, no man ever developed this condition as a result of a saw-palmetto deficiency. In my practice, I’ve observed that many men who try supplementing with the essential nutrients their bodies aren’t getting enough of almost always experience a big decrease and sometimes even a complete reversal of their BPH symptoms. Two of the biggest nutrient deficiencies in men suffering from BPH are zinc and essential fatty acids.
I usually recommend 30 milligrams of zinc (in the picolinate or citrate form) along with 2 milligrams of copper three times a day to start, tapering down the dose as symptoms improve. I also recommend taking 1 tablespoon of fish oil (for its high essential fatty acid content) along with 400 IU of vitamin E each day.